Electronic Design

Electronic Design UPDATE: December 2, 2004

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Electronic Design UPDATE e-Newsletter Electronic Design Magazine PlanetEE ==> www.planetee.com December 2, 2004

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*************************ADVERTISEMENT************************** New! Switch Matrix for Signal Intelligence and Routing STC Microwave Systems - Olektron's 128 x 128 Intermediate Frequency (IF) Switch Matrix is the answer for high up-time distribution of IF signals when rack space is limited. Designed for use in signal intelligence and satellite ground station routing, it can be field configured in groups of 16 inputs or 16 outputs. Advanced BITE verifies the signal route and fidelity. Click below for the datasheet. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BNI50Ae **************************************************************** Today's Table Of Contents: 1. Editor's View * EU's Hazardous Substances Directive Still Needs Tweaking 2. Focus On Test & Measurement * Fast Data-Acquisition System Includes Ethernet 3. News From The Editors * Singing The Blues... Bluetooth, That Is * Linux Standards Base 2.0 Approved 4. Upcoming Industry Events * First International Forum on MicroNano Integration * Plastic Optical Fiber for Automobiles Day * 11th International Display Workshops 5. Magazine Highlights: November 29, 2004 * Cover Story: Technology Report -- SiP Really Packs It In * Leapfrog: First Look -- Platforms Get Extreme For Storage, High-Speed I/O * Leapfrog: First Look -- Java 5.0 Perks Up With New Language Constructs * Design Solution -- Generate Those Low Voltages Needed For FPGA-Based Boards Electronic Design UPDATE edited by John Novellino, Senior Technology Editor **************************************************************** THOUGHT YOU'D MISSED THEM? DON'T WORRY, THEY'RE ARCHIVED Electronic Design's two latest webcasts are available online: COM Express -- Emerging Standard: Bill Wong examines COM Express, the new Computer-on-Module standard from the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group. Wong looks at what's inside the standard, its effect on high-speed serial technologies, and how it's changing the embedded landscape. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BMBG0Ao Selecting the Best ASIC Solution: Dave Bursky discusses the ASIC selection process, exploring the decision points you should consider in determining the right ASIC design route. Bursky and a panel representing leading ASIC manufacturers explore the issues you face when planning a new chip design. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BMVH0AB ***** BE SURE TO VISIT Electronic Design's Web site, where the power of Electronic Design is a mouse click away! Read our Web exclusives, enjoy our Quick Poll, discover Featured Vendors, access our archives, share viewpoints in our Forums, explore our e-newsletters, and more. What is your personal outlook for design projects in 2005? -- Concerned about slowdown/layoffs. -- Fewer projects, but still feel secure in my position. -- Good stable work flow continues in '05. -- Increased number of projects. -- Lots coming down the pike, maybe more than I can handle. Go to Electronic Design ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BGmZ0Ak **************************************************************** ********************** 1. Editor's View -- Exclusive to Electronic Design UPDATE ********************** EU's Hazardous Substances Directive Still Needs Tweaking By Ron Schneiderman, Professional/Careers Editor In just over 18 months, electronics companies doing business in the 25 countries that make up the European Union (it could be more by then) will have to stop using certain environmentally hazardous materials in electronic components and systems. Under the EU's Restrictions on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive, literally hundreds of thousands of products currently produced and marketed by companies worldwide could become obsolete. Every company that makes or uses chips in electronic products is working to develop the right combination of materials to allow products to be sold in Europe and other countries adopting similar legislation. Lead is getting most of the attention, particularly in the semiconductor sector. But the RoHS directive also restricts the use of cadmium, mercury, chromium VI, and at least two brominated flame retardants (PBBs and PBDEs) in a wide range of electronic products as of July 2006. Japan and China are developing similar restrictions. Several industry analysts have called the RoHS a "minefield," a "debacle," and "a major crisis" facing the electronics industry as companies struggle to meet the EU's environmental directive. But the RoHS could also could turn out to be an opportunity for many industry companies. Texas Instruments, National Semiconductor, Actel, and others have already announced the availability of lead-free chips and set deadlines for making virtually their entire product lines lead-free. Agere Systems says its engineers have found the right mix of semiconductor ingredients to enable the industry to successfully implement lead-free packaging. Henkel Electronics' new lead-free solder paste is getting high marks from its customers. (Motorola has already qualified the material for use in its processes.) And, Great Lakes Chemical Corp., a specialty chemicals company, says tests of its bromostyrene flame retardant in electronics applications meets RoHS specs for lead-free solder systems. But confusion reigns. The EU continues to change, or update, the language of the RoHS directive. China, which says it wants its lead-free directive to look as much like the EU's as possible, might in fact add new and problematic tweaks of its own, causing further confusion and raising costs for companies that market their products in China. In an admittedly small and unscientific online poll, when Electronic Design asked its readers how close their companies are to getting the lead and other hazardous materials out of their electronic products, 57% responded, "What directive?" Nearly three-quarters of the respondents (72%) indicated they believe the cost and technical demands of Europe's RoHS directive will have a "real" or "significant" impact on the industry. Raymond Communications, a specialist in global recycling policy, says suppliers are doubling the number of parts they inventory and are scrambling to hire more staff to handle the huge load of compliance paperwork because of RoHS. Some companies have formed dedicated RoHS teams to make sure they comply by the mid-2006 deadline. One of the biggest problems is trying to figure out what forms to use to qualify or confirm product compliance under the RoHS directive. To help solve that problem, the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) has been working with the EU and Japan to develop a Materials Declaration Guide. Jason Linnell, the EIA's director of environmental affairs, says that 90% of the companies that have reviewed the 25-page document have approved it, although most votes were returned with comments and suggestions. Linnell says these are currently being reviewed, and the guide should be finalized sometime this month. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which has been involved in the development of several industry standards, is also working on lead-free-specific issues, according to Linnell. Another troublesome issue is testing materials under the RoHS directive. At least three tests have been proposed by the JEDEC Solid-State Technology Association, with guidance from the National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (NEMI) aimed at more effectively screening materials for susceptibility to "tin whiskers." (Tests conducted by Agere, for example, showed that commercially available tin-over-copper packaging forms "whiskers" that can create electrical shorts or break off and cause other system failures.) But is all of this even necessary? Most industry sources are hesitant to discuss the subject, but Harvey Miller, a packaging industry specialist, doesn't think so. A report by Miller, entitled "Lead-Free Electronics Solder: Why?" says lead-free solder is not only unnecessary, it also is environmentally unsound. Furthermore, he says, "Lead-free will substantially drive up the cost of manufacturing worldwide and seriously affect product reliability, which could spell disaster for an industry deeply shaken by the downturn of 2000." As far as Miller is concerned, the EU's RoHS is "driven by political motives and not good science." To comment on this Editor's View, go to Reader Comments at the foot of the Web page: Electronic Design UPDATE ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BNI60Af **************************************************************** *************************ADVERTISEMENT*************************** Advance Your Career at DiceEngineering.com DiceEngineering is one of the leading engineering job boards for highly qualified engineers. Today you can search more than 11,000 challenging, interesting, high-paying jobs from leading companies including IBM, Aerotek and Motorola. These top companies are searching for high-level engineers like you. They can only find you if you're registered. For your next big career advancement, go to http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BKs60AK **************************************************************** ********************** 2. Focus On Test & Measurement ********************** ***Fast Data-Acquisition System Includes Ethernet The DaqLab/2000 series high-speed data-acquisition systems feature a 16-bit, 200-kHz analog-to-digital converter and an Ethernet engine that allow direct data transfers to a PC at up to 200 kreadings/s. Signal I/O is via removable screw-terminal connectors on the front panel. I/O capabilities include eight voltage and four frequency inputs, four waveform-capable analog outputs, two timer outputs, and six digital I/O ports. Expansion slots and optional boards permit hundreds of analog and digital channels. Besides a point-to-point connection to a PC, the Ethernet capability permits connection to an enterprise-wide network. Access can be made wirelessly or through the Internet. The DaqLab comes with DaqView software for data logging, real-time display, and storage to disk. The instrument supports a variety of application development environments. The DaqLab/2001 costs $1999. The DaqLab/2005 (without the analog outputs) is $1699. Delivery is from stock. IOtech Inc. == http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BNI70Ag ********************** 3. News -- From The Editors ********************** ***Singing The Blues... Bluetooth, That Is The recent Wireless Connectivity Conference in Santa Clara, Calif., hosted a number of noteworthy Bluetooth and other wireless product annoucements for ZigBee and WiFi systems. For starters, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group announced the proposed upgrade of the Bluetooth specification to include a 3-Mbit/s data transfer mode, triple that of the original specification. The upgrade includes additional features. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BNI80Ah -- Cambridge Consultants Ltd., Cambridge, U.K., released its Bluetooth v1.2-compliant Mezoe software, which includes a protocol stack and an extensive library of application profiles, all optimized for deeply embedded applications. The company has also released a prototype Bluetooth-based radio module targeted at cost-sensitive applications such as remote metering. Cambridge Consultants Ltd. ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BKHH0At -- From Ember Corp. comes the EM2430 rf tranceiver chip, a low-power, secure wireless front end for 2.4-GHz operation that complies with the IEEE 802.15.4 specification for physical layer interfaces. It also accelerates many of the 802.15.4 media-access control functions, such as data encryption, through on-chip hardware. Volume pricing is less than $3.50, including the software stack from Chipcon. Ember Corp. ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BNJA0Ar Chipcon ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BCpQ0Aa -- Developers at CSR have released a series of single-chip WiFi solutions as part of the company's UniFi family. The devices combine as many as three WiFi standards into one chip. The first family members include the UniFi-1 portable (802.11b/g, single-band) and the UniFi-1 consumer (802.11a/b/g, dual-band). The chips sell for less than $8 apiece in production quantities. The high integration level reduces the remaining bill of materials for a full wireless interface to less than $1. CSR ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BB740A8 -- Another wireless transceiver chip, the CX1540, was released by Compxs Inc., a startup company in Santa Clara. The chip complies with 802.15.4 physical-layer and media-access controller requirements and offers a maximum transmission speed of 250 kbits/s using CSMA-CA channel access. It draws just 1 microA on standby, 56 mA during transmit, and 57 mA during receive. The transceiver targets ZigBee networks and requires just a low-cost microcontroller to complete the system. Compxs Inc. ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BNJB0As ***Linux Standards Base 2.0 Approved Linux implementations, at least at the server and workstation level, may be headed toward a common goal with the recent adoption of the Linux Standards Base (LSB) 2.0. Products expected to be based on LSB 2.0 in 2005 include Conectiva Enterprise Server, Mandrakesoft Corporate Server, Progeny Componentized Linux, and Turbolinux Enterprise Server. LSB has the support of a wide range of Linux distribution vendors, including Red Hat, Novell/SuSE, and Sun Microsystems. LSB 2.0 will simplify ISV/IHV certifications on Linux by providing an industry-supported LSB reference implementation. More details including the LSB 2.0 specification can be found at the Linux Standards Base Web site. Linux Standards Base ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BNJC0At *************************ADVERTISEMENT*************************** Ahead of the Curve: Waking Up To A Specifications Nightmare By Paul G. Schreier A new expert viewpoint brought to Electronic Design by Agilent Technologies November 29 issue, page 45 http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BNJD0Au **************************************************************** *************************ADVERTISEMENT*************************** New RapidChip Partner Program Appeals to Many The explosive growth in Platform ASICs has quickly fueled interest in the new RapidChip(R) Partner Program. LSI Logic and Partners are creating a diverse, expanding environment of third-party IP, design services and EDA tool providers. This support extends the capabilities of RapidChip Platform ASICs and helps OEMs reduce time-to-market, minimize design risk and lower the costs of innovating new products. See why a growing number of third-party providers are aligning behind LSI Logic's RapidChip Platform ASIC to address the cost-effective solutions that today's applications require at: http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BMoA0AT **************************************************************** ********************** 4. Upcoming Industry Events ********************** Dec. 3-4, First International Forum on MicroNano Integration Potsdam, Germany http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BNJE0Av Dec. 8, Plastic Optical Fiber for Automobiles Day (POFAUTODAY) Detroit, Mich. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BNJF0Aw Dec. 8-10, 11th International Display Workshops Niigata, Japan http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BNJG0Ax ********************** 5. Magazine Highlights ********************** In case you missed them, here are some of the high points of our most recent issue. November 29, 2004: * Cover Story: Technology Report -- SiP Really Packs It In System-in-a-package technology fulfills the need for high-density, small-footprint products with short turnaround times by using low-cost, standard assembly equipment. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BNJH0Ay * Leapfrog: First Look -- Platforms Get Extreme For Storage, High-Speed I/O Novel platform ASICs meet storage and communication system demands by delivering plenty of memory and multigigabit I/O ports. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BNJI0Az Leapfrog: First Look -- Java 5.0 Perks Up With New Language Constructs Language enhancements galvanize Java 5.0 for the next era of embedded developments. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BNJJ0A1 * Design Solution -- Generate Those Low Voltages Needed For FPGA-Based Boards http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BNJK0A2 For the complete Table of Contents, go to Electronic Design ==> http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BNJL0A3 **************************************************************** SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TO ELECTRONIC DESIGN If you're reading this e-newsletter, then you are either a current Electronic Design subscriber, or should be (145,000 of your peers are). To apply for or renew a subscription to Electronic Design absolutely FREE and without paperwork or hassle, click on the link below. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0Gl4E70Fh10BEE30AP ****************************************************************

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Editorial: Mark David, Editor-in-Chief mailto:[email protected] Advertising/Sponsorship Opportunities: Bill Baumann, Publisher: mailto:[email protected]

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